From adults to children, expecting moms to seniors, and everyone else who wants a nutritious yet delicious addition to their lives, the kiwifruit (a.k.a. the kiwi) combines great taste with a wealth of nutritional benefits that promote a healthy lifestyle and play an important role in supporting overall wellness. Typically in-season at Canadian grocery stores from May to October, it’s a versatile fruit that can be used in sweet or savoury dishes, and works as an easy-to-eat snack at any time of day.
Kiwifruit can contribute to a child’s healthy immune system. That’s because kiwis are rich in vitamin C, a vital nutrient for boosting immunity to fend off ailments caused by viruses and bacteria. A serving of kiwi has more than your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, perfect for young kids attending daycare or school. Kids also love the taste of kiwifruit: SunGold kiwis have a tropically sweet taste (like a cross between a mango and a strawberry), yellow flesh and a smooth, edible skin. They make a great addition to a child’s lunchbox, as they can be eaten whole like an apple or cut in half and consumed with a spoon.
Potassium is an important part of a teenager’s daily diet, as it helps support nerves and muscle growth. We often think of bananas as a fruit with a rich store of potassium; one serving of kiwifruit, however, contains as much potassium as a banana.
Green kiwifruit provides moms-to-be with folate, an important essential nutrient for cell growth. Kiwifruit also provides phytonutrients and antioxidants that flush out free radical toxins and help keep their immune system strong. High fibre foods are also known to be blood-sugar balancing, which is helpful when gestational diabetes during pregnancy is a concern. One serving of green kiwi contains about the same amount of fibre as a bowl of bran flakes.
As we age, making healthy and nutritious food choices becomes even more important because the body becomes less efficient at absorbing some key nutrients. By providing vitamins A, C, E and other eye-protecting antioxidants, kiwifruit can also help prevent or reduce vision loss (macular degeneration) as well as the damage caused by oxidization. Foods with a low Glycemic Index (GI) like kiwifruit can help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease; both green and SunGold kiwifruit has a GI value lower than 40.
To pick the perfect kiwifruit, hold it in the palm of your hand and squeeze it gently. A ripe kiwi will yield to slight pressure—like an avocado or a peach. Green and SunGold kiwis taste sweeter when softer. To ripen, leave them out at room temperature for three to seven days. Ripe kiwifruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Gloria Tsang is a Registered Dietitian based in Vancouver and a spokesperson for Zespri Kiwifruit, a world leader in premium quality kiwifruit